There are ways to make it into a review. And there are ways not to make it into a review. This one is the latter:

For want of a trombone, the plan of battle was lost. For want of a plan, the concerto was all but lost.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all at Tanglewood, along comes a missing second trombonist. When a summer substitute didn’t arrive for the start of Friday night’s all-Brahms program, the Boston Symphony Orchestra resorted to triage, flipping the order of the two works. The orchestra was cleared from the stage, the Steinway wheeled in, the soloist marched on. The trombone-less Piano Concerto No. 1 preceded the three-trombone Symphony No. 3.

At least no name was given, but you can bet folks are talking about it, and the name will get out there.

When a musician doesn’t show to a gig I mostly worry that something horrible has happened. (Well, except with a few musicians who are notorious for late arrivals.) Most of us are just so careful about time, and would never arrive late to a job. So no shows tend to mean something bad in my mind.

According to the review the trombonist arrived later. I wonder if it’s the last gig that player will get at Tanglewood.


  1. One of the times I did Honk one of the other pit denizens didn’t make it to a performance – he did make the next night and explained that his car blew up on the way to the gig (something like “You know how the news programs will show those cars in flames on the side of the road? Last night that was my car on the news.”). Pretty good excuse, I must say. And once when I was doing Joseph the narrator (that’s a pretty major part) was late so they blamed “technical difficulties” while waiting for her to show. I only heard later the anecdote about her putting makeup on in the car on the way to the show and having people in other cars stare – apparently the makeup was being applied to her upper chest vs. her face (just applying makeup to her face while driving wouldn’t be cause for notice, after all – I remember someone writing in to Herb Caen, I think it was, with the note that “I saw someone putting on her makeup while driving on the freeway and I was so startled I dropped my electric razor into my cup of coffee…”).

  2. Jason Heath, over at Jason Heath’s Double Bass Blog has a great story — with pictures — about his car. I didn’t take the time to find it, but it’s worth a look-see.

    I once heard of a woman putting on pantyhose while driving to a gig. SCARY.

    Ah the things we do.

    Meanwhile, I am leaving 2 1/2 hours early for my San Francisco rehearsal today. I just can’t take a chance of being late. Call me paranoid!

  3. Well… I’ve been told that panythose can be used as an emergency substitute for a broken fan belt. Someday, this information may save you from missing the gig!

  4. My flute teacher, ex-principal of the LA Phil, used to drive to work while practicing the flute while driving with his knees. No accident though.